Monkey business: little marmoset finds loving home with big-hearted family

2011-08-18 00:00

IT’S cute, tiny and loves sleeping on your neck, and it’s a pet that won’t be found in many households.

Vicki Peddle, a Bisley resident, is the owner of a three-month-old cotton-eared marmoset, a tiny monkey that she bought over a month ago in Johannesburg.

“I love him; he’s like a child and is certainly part of the family,” said Peddle.

She said she had been looking for a pigmy marmoset, commonly known as a finger monkey, but fell in love with a common marmoset instead.

Marmosets belong to the family of Callitrichids — the smallest of primates — and are known as New World monkeys originating in the forests of central and South America.

The marmoset, which Peddle has named Yoda after the Star Wars character, has tufts of fur covering his ears and is a mere 10 cm long, excluding the tail.

Yoda is put in tiny nappies when the Peddle family goes to functions as he once “pooped” on her son at a function. “Someone said that was very disgusting,” she said.

Peddle understands that not everyone likes monkeys so she takes extra precautions when she is in public. The little monkey doesn’t like big crowds so he’s hidden under a collar where he will sleep.

“Once I went to a bank with Yoda on my neck and people parted because they were scared of him.”

Though Yoda is loved, he is sometimes disciplined as he can be very “naughty”. He understands the words “wait” and “no”.

Dr Philip Kretzmann of Vethouse Hospital in the city said marmosets are primates and have feelings similar to humans.

“They are not merely fruit and nut eaters and a quater of their diet should be made up of protein,” said Kretzmann.

Little monkeys can carry many diseases humans carry, so it is best to visit the vet regularly and not to share saliva with the primates.

Yoda is said to love custard and strawberry yoghurt.

He is also fed cucumber, chicken and baby corn.

Avocado is the one fruit that Peddle has been advised not to feed the him.

Peddle said her grandchildren love playing hide and seek with Yoda.


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